25: Brassiere Basics

25: Brassiere Basics

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Just Us Girls

Brassiere Basics

Friends are like bras: close to your heart and there for support.

~Donna Roberts

I’m a big girl. You know — curvy. Feminine. Buxom. Which, of course, leads to the inevitable need for a bra. I say need, here, in the most fundamental sense. I don’t wear one to ensure a “smoother profile” or “better posture” — two of the many lies promulgated by bra manufacturers. No. My motivation for struggling into one each and every day is more a sense of self-preservation. You see, after breastfeeding three babies, they’ve become a tripping hazard. I can’t say for sure, but my guess is that I’d be violating an OSHA mandate if I didn’t keep “the girls” safely contained — for my own safety, and the safety of others.

Why am I exposing myself (figuratively and a bit literally) writing about such things? It’s all my bestie’s fault. She is one of those people who is funny, cute, and always looks pulled together and neat. During a break in a conference we attended together, she commented about how much she loved my dress, and asked me to take off my jacket so she could see the back. Thrilled to have impressed my fashionista friend, I started to slip my arm out of the sleeve, and then froze. I hemmed. I hawed. I made excuses, and blushed furiously. Finally, I had no choice but to admit the truth — I couldn’t take my jacket off because the halter neckline of the dress would expose the back of my bra. Usually, this would not be a problem between buddies. However, my bra on that particular day looked like something out of a redneck fix-it shop. You can see, then, why I was hesitant to show it off.

The implement itself wasn’t all that unusual. It was your typical Walmart bra — white, with a three-hook closure in the back, and made for nursing. The problem was, I hadn’t nursed a baby in two years. Since the time it was purchased I had gained some girth, and had added a handy extender to give me some extra breathing room. The extender was black. And six hooks wide. And had been repaired in hot-pink thread. I might as well have used duct tape and baling twine. The final result couldn’t have been much worse.

My friend, being the intuitive gal that she is, began to throw questions my way about the offending item of clothing. In short order she had guessed that I was ashamed to show it because it was a nursing bra, despite the fact that I was no longer a nursing mother. Thankfully, she accepted that as the reason why I was hesitant to flash some skin and show off the back of my dress, so I was spared the embarrassment of having to actually reveal my neon stitches and mismatched extender. I did, however, have to sit through a mild chiding about the importance of finding the right bra. Arguing was out of the question — partly because I knew I deserved the lecture, and partly because I was afraid she’d want to point something out and discover just how shockingly bad my undergarment really was.

At any rate, she was right. Since then, I’ve tried to be more mindful of my choice in brassieres. I no longer own a single nursing bra, and am down to just one extender, which happens to be the same color and width as the bra it is affixed to. Moreover, just last week I actually discarded a bra after the underwire broke, rather than simply pulling both wires out and continuing to wear it as-is, which is (I’m ashamed to say) something I’ve done in the past (hey, at least it’s economical).

All in all, I’m glad to report that I’ve taken some major steps in the right direction, and am well on my way toward having an arsenal of support garments that’s both attractive and strong enough to tote the load. And, not a moment too soon. After all, I’m raising three daughters who (if genetics are any indicator) are likely to be similarly well endowed. I’m determined not to let them down when it comes to brassiere basics. I’m sure the answers are out there — some mysterious combination of fact, science, lore, and Spandex — hidden deep within the pages of the Victoria’s Secret catalogs, blueprints in the basement of the Vatican, and the annual OSHA safety guidelines. And if all else fails, I hope my daughters have a friend as good as mine, who knows exactly when to stage a brassiere intervention.

~Andrea K. Farrier

You are currently enjoying a preview of this book.

Sign up here to get a Chicken Soup for the Soul story emailed to you every day for free!

Please note: Our premium story access has been discontinued (see more info).

view counter

More stories from our partners